Before we begin, how about a brief lesson in the etymology of the word, arugula? Lately I’ve been using a lot of arugula and although I don’t necessarily think of it as a winter green, it keeps popping up in my recipes or salads. I think maybe it’s that in the summer and especially in The Garden State, your options for locally grown red and green leaf lettuce are there for the picking. And there is a heartiness to this densely dark, peppery green that is so perfect for my fav winter salad of arugula, sliced oranges, sweet onion rings, a couple of cherry tomatoes and nicoise olives all drizzled with the best EV olive oil in the house. Sprinkle some coarse salt, basil and oregano on the top and there you have a great salad perfect for these cold and gray days – think citrus!
OK now for the origin of the word: What we refer to as Arugula is known as Rocket in England and among many Italian-Americans, ruccola. The Calabresan word for this green leaf is arucola and since so many of Italian-Americans can trace their roots to southern Italy, it seems likely we have Americanized it into Arugula. Across the sea, in northern Italy it’s known as ruchetta which eventually worked its way over the Alps into France and became ruquette and once it crossed the English Channel, it became rocket!
1 lb spaghetti
freshly ground pepper
EV olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 dried red chillis, crumbled
1 lb of peeled raw prawns
1 small wineglass of white wine
2 heaping TBS of tomato puree or 6 sun-dried tomatoes blitzed in a blender
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 handfuls of rocket, roughly chopped
** a lug is a pour of olive oil; when the bottle makes the first glug sound, that’s a lug.
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to directions
Meanwhile heat 3 good lugs** of olive oil in a large braising pan or skillet and toss in the garlic and the chillis. As the garlic begins to color, add the prawns and sauté them for a minute. Add the white wine and tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.
When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, squeeze in the lemon juice, add half the chopped rocket, adding a little of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce a bit, and correct the seasoning. Divide between 4 plates and sprinkle with the grated lemon zest and the rest of the rocket leaves.
Recipe from Jamie Oliver.com